December 18, 2007

Jackson makes decision

The Alabama coaching staff only recently found their way into the mix for Henry County's Chris Jackson, one of the most productive receivers in the history of prep football in Georgia, but it didn't take them long to convince the 6-foot, 180-pound star to join the Tide. On Tuesday morning, Jackson made the call to Alabama Head Coach Nick Saban to make his verbal commitment to the Tide.


Jackson, a long-time Georgia Tech commitment, began to have second thoughts about his pledge to the Yellow Jackets after the termination of Coach Chan Gailey. After spending months helping Gailey's staff recruit other athletes for the 2008 class, Georgia Tech fired Gailey and brought in Navy Coach Paul Johnson, known for his option offense.

"It wasn't Coach Johnson and it wasn't the offense necessarily," said Henry County Offensive Coordinator Rex Robertson. "It was that Georgia Tech was bringing in an offense that was going to limit the recruits they could bring in. Chris had worked on helping recruit a big-time passing quarterback to Tech (Sean Renfree), and once they brought in their new system, that precludes kids like him from playing there. Chris is upset that he and the other kids that he helped the old coaching staff recruit were going to be thrown out the window because of a system."

The other side to Jackson's decision is the attraction to Alabama, who swooped in and won over the physical athlete in a matter of days.

"The first thing that stood out to Chris about Alabama was the coaches," said Robertson. "Coach (Kirby) Smart came to our school and hung out for a few hours and he was just one of the guys. He did a wonderful job with Chris as did Coach Saban. He was also impressed with the 92,000 fans that fill up their stadium and the fact that it is a college campus. Plus, they are bringing in big time talent and the thrill of competition really excites him.

"We told Chris on Sunday night to take emotion out of the equation and figure out where he wanted to go. It didn't take long for him to tell us 'I want to go to Alabama.'"

Robertson and his family, which includes his stepson, 2009 quarterback prospect Drew Little, had a much bigger interest in the destination of his star player than most coaches. Robertson has been a father-figure to Jackson since he was nine years old.

"I coached Chris and my stepson in little league football, and they became friends," said Robertson. "Before you know it, Chris is one of the family. He is in all of our family portraits and in our football program with my family picture. He has dinner with us all of the time and Drew and Chris have a real special connection that goes beyond football.

"People think I adopted Chris, but he has a wonderful mother and stepfather that has entrusted our family with taking care of him and helping him make decisions."

Jackson will graduate high school this Friday and enroll at Alabama in January. His scholarship will count towards the 2007 signing class as an early enrollee.

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